From the Wall Street Journal Online:
In December 1957 Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez held a plebiscite on his presidency. By going through the exercise of a national vote, he thought he would legitimize his rule, which a military junta had handed him five years earlier.
In the event, his government said he won, but Venezuelans weren't convinced. Within a month, a popular uprising drove him from the presidential palace and out of the country.
Next month will mark the golden jubilee of Pérez Jiménez's fateful December "triumph," which provoked his demise and opened a space for democracy to emerge in 1958. Coincidentally the anniversary falls in the same month as a referendum -- called by President Hugo Chávez -- on 69 constitutional reforms that will, among other things, allow him to rule for life....MORE